Adelaide Kemble

Singer, Opera singer

1815 – 1879

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Who was Adelaide Kemble?

Adelaide Kemble was an English opera singer of the Victorian era, and a member of the Kemble family of actors. She was the younger sister of Fanny Kemble, the famous actress and anti-slavery activist. Her father was actor Charles Kemble, her mother Maria Theresa Kemble.

Adelaide studied in London with John Braham and in Italy under the great soprano Giuditta Pasta. On 2 November 1841, she made her first operatic performance on the London stage in Norma.

In 1843 she married Edward John Sartoris and retired after a brief but brilliant career. They were hosts at the Belgravia home to Chopin where, in 1849, he made his London debut. This is now marked by a plaque. She wrote A Week in a French Country House, a bright and humorous story, followed by other, more mediocre tales. She recorded one interesting incident at a late London concert by Pasta, whose powers had diminished badly, and she asked of fellow singer Pauline Viardot what she thought of Pasta's voice now and got the reply:

"Ah! It is a ruin, but so is Leonardo's Last Supper."

Her son, Algernon Charles Frederick Sartoris, married Nellie Grant, the daughter of the famous American general and president Ulysses S. Grant, on 21 May 1874 in the East Room of the White House.

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Nov 1, 1815
Aug 4, 1879

on July 23, 2013


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